The choice of pans available is simply astonishing. Most pan sets include the basics & a 16, 18 and 20cm saucepan, and perhaps a milk pan and frying pan, but why not supplement your set with a few individual speciality pans?
Choose a steamer or griddle pan for healthy cooking; a stockpot or jam pan for larger quantities, or a wok, stir-fry pan or paella pan for exotic dishes. And if you've never quite perfected your poached egg technique, there are even dedicated pans for that too!
All pan materials have their benefits, and once you've decided which pans to buy, you'll need to consider which material is right for your kitchen. An aluminium pan will be lightweight with good heat conductivity, carbon steel pans are ideal for cooking over a high heat, and cast iron can be heavy but is very durable. Copper pans are the best for heat distribution, but the most people tend to choose enamel, hard anodised, stainless steel or non-stick pans as these are good all-rounders and the most affordable.
To get the benefits of several materials, look for cladded pans, or pans with layered or sandwiched bottoms & perhaps with an aluminium core base. A good set of pans is a long-term investment. Before you choose, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Buying Pans.